Rockford Public Schools Release Reopening Plan

Find details from RPS at www3.rps205.com/backtoschool/Pages/default.aspx

Credit www3.rps205.com

WNIJ’s Peter Medlin reports:

Rockford Public Schools just became the latest district to release a plan for reopening. No matter the grade level, parents can choose full-time remote learning. But in-person will look different depending on a student’s age.

The elementary school option will be all day, five days a week. Heidi Dettman is the executive director of academics.

“The biggest reason is because of how critical their time with their teachers is at this developmental stage,” said Dettman.

She says the elementary school model of having a small group of students with one teacher is safer than a lot of kids moving between classrooms. Educators will also devote a considerable amount of time to teach about hygiene, like washing your hands and properly wearing masks.

Continue reading here.

Gov. Pritzker Stops In Adams County Monday

Sean Crawford reports:

Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Monday stop in the county seat of Quincy was no social call.  Appearing at the Adams County Department of Public Health, he pointed out the numbers there are going in the wrong direction.

“What’s happening here is alarming,” he said. “And if these trends continue in a negative direction, the state will need to take immediate action to impose additional mitigations to slow the spread and keep more people from getting sick.”

Pritzker said his visit to western Illinois was to provide support and urge everyone to follow guidelines such as wearing a mask in public, frequent hand washing and social distancing. 

Continue reading here.

COVID-19 Case Numbers: Statewide Update

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,231 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 18 additional confirmed deaths.

– Cook County – 1 male 30s, 1 male 40s, 1 male 50s, 2 females 60s, 3 males 60s, 1 female 70s, 2 male 70s, 1 male 90s
– DuPage County: 1 male 50s, 1 female 90s
– Peoria County: 1 female 50s
– Winnebago County: 1 male 70s, 1 female 80s, 1 male 80s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 172,655 cases, including 7,416 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 30,567 specimens for a total of 2,542,134.  The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 20 -July 26 is 3.8%.  As of last night, 1,417 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 350 patients were in the ICU and 124 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.

From coronavirus.illinois.gov/

New Round Of Mobile Testing Sites In Winnebago County

WINNEBAGO COUNTY – The Winnebago County Health Department is announcing that additional mobile COVID-19 testing sites will be available in the community.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) began providing free COVID-19 mobile testing teams throughout Winnebago County on Monday, July 20. They have added an additional week to their previously announced schedule. Remaining mobile COVID-19 testing sites will be open from 9am to 5pm and will be hosted at the following locations:

Mon., July 27 – Rockford Housing Authority (RHA) – Park Terrace, 1000 Chamberlain, Rockford, IL 61107

Tues., July 28 – Winnebago County Housing Authority (WCHA) – Collier Garden Apartments, 2901 Searles Ave.,Rockford, IL 61101

Wed., July 29 – RHA – Fairgrounds Valley, 1015 West Jefferson,Rockford, IL 61103

Thur., July 30 – RHA – Blackhawk Courts, 338 15th Ave., Rockford, IL 61104

Fri., July 31 – RHA – Orton Keyes, 633 Ranger St., Rockford IL, 61109

Sat., Aug. 1 – St. Bernadette Catholic Church, 2400 Bell Ave.,Rockford, IL 61103

Sun., Aug. 2 – RHA – The Grove, 690 S. New Towne Dr., Rockford IL, 61108

Mon., Aug. 3 – RHA – Buckbee Apartments, 4124 Harrison Ave., Rockford, IL 61108

Tues., Aug. 4 – Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 3rd Ave., Rockford, IL 61104

Wed., Aug. 5 – WCHA – Robert Johnson Garden Apts., 1615 Blackhawk Blvd., South Beloit, IL 61080

Thur., Aug. 5 – WCHA – Washington Park, 3617 Delaware St., Rockford, IL 61102

Fri., Aug. 7 – United Way Strong Neighborhood House, 908 8th Ave., Rockford, IL 61103

Sat., Aug. 8 – Boylan Catholic High School, 4000 St. Francis Dr., Rockford, IL 61103

Sun., Aug. 9 – Muslim Association of Greater Rockford, 5921 Darlene Dr., Rockford, IL 61109

These testing sites are available free of charge to any Illinois resident who wants to be tested for COVID-19. The COVID-19 Community Based Testing Site at UIC Health Sciences Campus – Rockford will continue to provide testing seven days per week from 8 am to 4 pm and the Community Based Testing Site at Auburn High School will test Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

Testing plays a critical role in allowing for the safe reopening of Illinois. For additional testing locations, visit: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/testing-sites

LaSalle County Added To COVID-19 “Warning Level”

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today reported four counties in Illinois are considered to be at a warning level for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).  A county enters a warning level when two or more COVID-19 risk indicators that measure the amount of COVID-19 increase.

Four counties are currently reported at a warning level – Adams, LaSalle, Peoria, and Randolph. 

These counties saw outbreaks associated with business and risky behavior, including:

Adams County:  larger social events, health care exposure, travel to hotspots including those in neighboring Missouri and Iowa, places of worship, and youth sports.

LaSalle County: large family and social gatherings, increase in cases among people younger than 29 years, younger people visiting bars and attending larger social events, and inconsistencies with masking requirements.

Peoria County: increases in cases among people younger than 29 years, large gatherings including 4th of July parties, and people traveling to Florida, Iowa, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Randolph County: congregate settings, numerous bars not complying with distancing and masking, a large party with more than 200 people, and among households.   

IDPH uses numerous indicators when determining if a county is experiencing stable COVID-19 activity, or if there are warning signs of increased COVID-19 risk in the county.

• New cases per 100,000 people.  If there are 50 or more new cases per 100,000 people in the county, this triggers a warning.
• Number of deaths.  This metric indicates a warning when the number of deaths increases more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Weekly test positivity.  This metric indicates a warning when the 7-day test positivity rate rises above 8%.
• ICU availability.  If there are fewer than 20% of intensive care units available in the region, this triggers a warning.
• Weekly emergency department visits.   This metric indicates a warning when the weekly percent of COVID-19-like-illness emergency department visits increase by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Weekly hospital admissions.  A warning is triggered when the weekly number of hospital admissions for COVID-19-like-illness increases by more than 20% for two consecutive weeks.
• Tests perform.  This metric is used to provide context and indicate if more testing is needed in the county.
• Clusters. This metric looks at the percent of COVID-19 cases associated with clusters or outbreaks and is used to understand large increase in cases.

These metrics are intended to be used for local level awareness to help local leaders, businesses, local health departments, and the public make informed decisions about personal and family gatherings, as well as what activities they choose to do.  The metrics are updated weekly, from the Sunday-Saturday of the prior week.  

A map and information of each county’s status can be found on the IDPH website at https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countymetrics

Pritzker Extends Eviction Moratorium

Sean Crawford reports:

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is giving more time to those behind on rent or mortgage payments.  He’s extending a ban on evictions through August 22.  A moratorium was set to expire at the end of this month.

“For many people their ability to weather this crisis hinges on their ability to keep a roof over their family’s heads. It’s not enough to say that we want to build a more just and equitable state on the other side of this pandemic. We have to take tangible action to get there,” he said.

Read more details on housing assistance here.

A Look At The DeKalb School District’s Reopening Plan

WNIJ’s Peter Medlin reports:

It’s just less than a month before the first day of school, and DeKalb is releasing their plans to reopen amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Listen to this report

Students returning will see a different kind of classroom from what they left in March when schools shut down.

Schools are enforcing health and safety guidelines to try and limit the spread of coronavirus. Students will be required to wear masks. Classrooms will be reoriented to account for social distancing.

DeKalb’s plan uses a hybrid in-person and online format.

Ray Lechner is one of the district’s two new interim superintendents. He, along with Griff Powell, took over in June.

“There’s a direct relationship between in-person and remote,” said Lechner. “And then for the kids of the parents who choose at-home learning, it’ll be a different structure, but there will be stuff. There definitely will be stuff available. It just won’t look the same.”

For returning students, the plan is to split students into two groups, based on their instructional needs. And stagger schedules so students won’t come in every day of the week, only two to three days.

“And then we’re going to flip the kids, A and B. So, one week you’ll be two days at school, the next week you’ll be three days at school,” said Lechner.

They won’t come for a full day either, only half. Then they’ll grab a to-go, pre-packaged lunch and head home to learn remotely.

There will be an option for parents who don’t want to send their kids back in-person this fall. But Lechner said the district still doesn’t have a clear idea of what e-learning is going to look for those students.

Read the full story here.

Prominent Teachers’ Union Says Remote Learning Is The Safest Option

Sean Crawford reports:

With just a few weeks to go before some schools are set to begin their fall semester, the Illinois Federation of Teachers issued a recommendation on Monday that called for students to begin the academic year learning remotely.  It is part of a larger union statement on the new school year.  

IFT President Dan Montgomery said the rising number of coronavirus cases is a a cause for concern.   

“That is the safest and best option.  It’s safest for the students and their faculties and it’s also the most practical,” he said. 

Montgomery said some schools may be able to maintain safety measures like social distancing.  “If that can happen, that’s a good thing,” said Montgomery.  “That is an extremely rare occurrence in our experience.”

Read the full story here.

Statewide Case Numbers Update (Tuesday, July 21)

from coronavirus.illinois.gov

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 1,173 new confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including 6 additional confirmed deaths.

– Cass County – 1 female 90s
– Cook County – 1 female 70s, 1 male 90s
– DuPage County – 1 male 70s
– Peoria County – 1 female 100+
– Will County – 1 female 50s

Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 162,748 cases, including 7,301 deaths, in 102 counties in Illinois. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to older than 100 years.  Within the past 24 hours, laboratories have reported 34,598 specimens for a total of 2,279,109.  The preliminary seven-day statewide positivity for cases as a percent of total test from July 13 – July 19 is 3.0%.  As of last night, 1,410 people in Illinois were reported to be in the hospital with COVID-19.  Of those, 308 patients were in the ICU and 133 patients with COVID-19 were on ventilators.